College apprentices gaining skills needed by employers

Posted on by karen.smith

Engineering construction apprentices with pipe fitting lecturer Michael Llewellyn at Pembrokeshire College’s MITEC Centre

Equipping learners with the skills needed by local employers and the national economy is at the heart of Pembrokeshire College’s strategy.

The college, based in Haverfordwest, is currently training 280 apprentices, which takes the total number prepared for work over the past five years to nearly 2,000.

Now the college has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award that recognises the outstanding achievements of learners, employers and providers involved in the delivery of quality apprenticeships across Wales.

Pembrokeshire College is one of 19 finalists in six categories of the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, organised by the Welsh Government in partnership with the National Training Federation Wales (NTfW). Welsh Government apprenticeship programmes are part funded by the European Social Fund.

The college is contesting the Apprenticeship Provider of the Year award against Acorn Learning Solutions, Newport and Cambrian Training Company, Welshpool.

The winners will be announced at a high profile presentation ceremony at the Mercure Cardiff Holland House Hotel, Cardiff on Wednesday. November 16. Main sponsor of the awards, which aim to showcase excellence in skills development in Wales, is Pearson and media partner for the event is Media Wales.

Through consultation with local employers, employability skills are embedded into all apprenticeship programmes across all disciplines at Pembrokeshire College.

“This ensures that learners leave the college with the skills needed to be able to contribute to the future growth and success of local, national and international businesses,” said Geoff Elliott, the college’s director of marketing, skills and development.

The college offers apprenticeships at various levels in brickwork, business administration, carpentry and joinery, childcare, health care, hospitality and catering, electrical, plumbing, hairdressing, marine engineering, mechanical engineering, motor vehicle, pipe-fitting, plating and welding.

As Pembrokeshire is home to a large proportion of the UK’s petrochemical industry, there is significant demand for training, which is co-ordinated by an Engineering Construction Employers Group (ECEG), comprising the industry, college and ECITB representatives.

To prepare apprentices for work, the college has invested in training facilities that accurately reflect the complex and hazardous nature of conditions found in the refinery sector.

An ECITB approved welding apprenticeship, which packs two years’ training into 40 weeks, has also been designed in response to employer demand.

The other award categories are: Foundation Apprentice of the Year, Apprentice of the Year, Young Apprentice of the Year, Medium Employer of the Year and Large Employer of the Year.

Around 250 stakeholders from the vocational education and training sector across Wales are expected to attend the high profile awards ceremony, where guests will dine out with chefs from the Welsh National Culinary Team.

Deputy Minister for Skills, Jeff Cuthbert said: “I have been encouraged by the extremely high standard of this year’s finalists and the variety across all ages and sectors, which shows the strength of apprenticeship delivery in Wales.

“Irrespective of whether or not they collect an award, the 19 finalists are all winners. Each has an inspiring story to tell, making them true ambassadors for apprenticeship programmes in Wales.

“The Welsh Government is committed to creating more apprenticeship opportunities for young people in Wales and continuing to support employers who are willing to offer high quality apprenticeship places.”

The NTfW is a network of 90 quality assured learning providers, which has links to 35,000 employers across Wales.

President Lord Ted Rowlands said: “Apprenticeship Awards Cymru showcases and celebrates the achievements of those who have exceeded expectations, shown a dynamic approach to training, demonstrated initiative and enterprise, innovation and creativity and shown an understanding and commitment to the improvement of skills development for the Welsh economy.”

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